Kids Praise - A Reflection
Last fall, my friend Courtney and I began a ministry at church called Kids Praise! Every Sunday during our 10:45 service, we take students from grades K through 6 to a room for a time of worship. Our time typically includes prayer, songs with hand motions, Scripture reading and memorization, a little "message," and games.
It has been an exciting ministry to be part of and has allowed me to use my gifts of music and teaching. The church has been blessed by the ministry, as well. We put on a great Christmas program last December, did a little mini-performance in church in February, and are getting ready to perform for the Easter service. We have gotten to know the children in our church well, which is important for both adults and kids, and Courtney and I have formed a wonderful friendship through this experience.
There are challenges, though. We have quite a bit of preparation each month, choosing or creating songs and hand motions, planning games, outlining the messages. And that's all before the actual time. Once Sunday comes, the real hard part sets in: keeping their attention! Now that it has become a norm to go with Courtney and me to Kids Praise each Sunday, it is harder to get students to pay attention and listen. We have to walk a fine line between letting kids be kids while keeping KP a time of focused worship of God. We are often at a loss as to what to say or do when kids complain. I find my teaching instincts (or just my fleshly annoyed self) kick in before I'm even aware of it, but at the same time I recognize that I can't treat this as I would a typical class. Even with all that -- the management, the preparation, the balance -- hands down the hardest part of it is trying to reach the lofty goal we have set, which is to teach kids about worship and help them, with us, enter into a time of focused, dedicated worship.
As I was reading Francis Chan's book Forgotten God this week (more on that sometime...), I was reminded of something very important. I, in my own strength, cannot teach the kids how to worship. In fact, the truth is I myself am unable to worship without the help of God. God alone can guide and help us, and he has given each of us the Holy Spirit to live in us and do just that. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and instructs us. The Holy Spirit makes us true worshipers. Didn't Jesus say that true worshipers will worship in the Spirit and in truth? Those are the worshipers God seeks. (John 4) How amazing it is that God placed His Spirit in us to help us be the worshiper He wants!
It was both freeing and convicting to remember this. I couldn't help but evaluate my attitude and heart. Had I recognized that it is only the Holy Spirit who can instruct us in worship? Had I taken the time to call upon His help and ask Him to empower me to be a worship leader for these children? Suddenly, the phrase "in my own strength" finally took meaning for me.
As Christians, we are constantly learning new things about God and ourselves and changing to be more like Him. I am so grateful to be learning about the role the Holy Spirit has in our lives. No doubt, the conviction I have about Kids Praise is the first of many to come, but that's a good thing! I don't want to remain in my old thinking with a false view of God. I want my life to be characterized by the strength and power of God, knowing that His Spirit lives inside me.